We’re proud to have helped Michael Buchanan of the BBC and Andy McNicoll of Community Care in their excellent work exposing the scandalous bed crisis on the national stage. Even this year at the HealthEast consultations, the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Operations Director continued to push for approval of the bed closures at Carlton Court and refused to acknowledge that there aren’t enough beds or that funding cuts would impact upon services despite overwhelming evidence of the crisis in mental health care in Norfolk and Suffolk.
More than a year ago, the Operations Director admitted demand for beds was rising but refused to change course. NSFT overspent by a staggering £2.4 million on external placements in the financial year ending in March, sending people in crisis hundreds of miles away at enormous cost – both personal and financial.
At the same time NSFT has been culling community teams, creating a perfect storm of community cuts and bed closures which has created the current worsening crisis. This campaign and others have been warning the NSFT executive and Board, the clinical commissioners and Norman Lamb of what would and has indeed happened for more than a year. None of them have done anything except blame each other. NSFT and the CCGs promised to end out-of-area placements by 1st May 2014 four months ago but the deadline has passed and they have done nothing and the crisis continues. There hasn’t even been an acknowledgement or an apology.
Listen as Norman Lamb, the minister responsible, blames everyone except himself. Evan Davis skewers Norman Lamb when he points out, despite Lamb’s claims of anger, campaigning and opposing, that ‘you are the government.’